In this article the Barnes, Marateo and Ferris discuss their belief that students who have grown up with technology are different from students of the past who didn’t. They also explore the controversy over how much teachers need to adapt to meet their needs.
According to the Barnes et. al the students of today really do want to learn but they don’t like learning in a traditional, teacher-focused, school setting. Instead they want control over what they learn and how they learn it (and whether or not they can be on facebook at the same time) and these students want to learn things they can see clearly connect to their futures. Teachers however have a hard time allowing students to do this because we feel that multitasking really doesn’t work and believe that the content we teach is worthwhile even if we can’t say for certain that the students will ever “use it.” Obviously there needs to be some kind of compromise because students aren’t going to stop using technology and we would be foolish to try and demand that they do.
According to Barnes (2007) “Educators should continue to find ways to exploit the skills students develop outside of class without accommodating the habits of instant gratification and shallow thinking.” because “…the current education system does not teach students how to learn.” (p.6) If we can teach students how to focus their attention and actually learn something then they can leverage the internet and other technologies to teach themselves both in and out of school. Empowering students to learn on their own is, I believe, the primary purpose of school because I know many of them will probably forget the content that I teach but they will always remember how to learn.
With this in mind I liked the article, I thought that it adequately described the problems that technology is causing both students and teachers. Additionally the authors were intentional about providing both perspectives on technology use in school and ended with the compromise that I discussed above. If cell phones and the internet ever go away they are just going to be replaced by something else that people will believe is harming students. A big part of teaching is recognizing that we need to work with the tools at our disposal because they are a primary component of the real world that we are sending students into.